Residents forced to flee their homes in Sydney’s Mascot Towers have cautiously welcomed a “one-off” deal from the NSW government to pay their temporary accommodation costs for up to three months.
The state government has also promised the biggest ever shake-up of the NSW construction industry after residents of the 132 apartments in were abruptly turfed out of their homes on June 14 when cracks and movement were discovered.
The announcement came as residents were given just four hours to enter the apartment building on Sunday, and grab what they could.
Residents of the 10-year-old apartment block said the government offer would help them move forward but they still needed answers.
Fabiano Santos and his partner bought their “dream home” in the damaged towers just two months ago. Now they’re sleeping on a friend’s couch.
“It’s starting to make us sick, that we have our dream home for two months and now we’re homeless,” he said on Sunday.
“It’s a lot to digest.”
NSW Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson announced on Sunday that the state government would reimburse residents’ temporary accommodation costs under a loan. It will be capped at a daily rate and for up to three months.
“Ultimately we’ve got to do the right thing by them, they’ve been in a terrible situation,” he said.
Calling the issue a “spaghetti mess”, Mr Anderson denied the decision would open a can of worms, saying it was a “one-off” deal.
The money will come from the interest accumulated in Fair Work’s rental bonds fund. It will be paid back when insurance on the building kicks in.
The relief package will be available to tenants and owner-occupiers. One-bedroom apartment occupiers will receive $220 a night, two-bedroom apartments $300 a night and three-bedroom apartments $400 a night.
At a meeting last week, Mascot Towers apartment owners reluctantly agreed to foot the bill for initial emergency repair work to the tune of $1.1 million.
Amid fears the final repair bill could top $5 million, a GoFundMe page has been launched to help raise the money to cover the costs. It had raised just $4424 by late on Monday morning.